Kingston Go Cycle: Kingston to New Malden

Following yesterday’s post on the Kingston to Kingston Vale route, here’s the second of Kingston’s Autumn Go Cycle consultations.

new-malden-route

Do fill in the consultation: it’s vital that the council receives as many positive responses as possible.

Link to Consultation

Link to PDF of the route (which I’ve again scrawled on here).

Summary of Reponses

My responses to the survey are below. A more detailed examination follows.

 

In Depth Comments

This route is somewhat more straightforward than we’ve seen previously. There’s a junction at one end and a pretty much continuous route to New Malden at the other. More controversially, this route removes a bus lane. Current modelling suggests that this is feasible.

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The route begins with the London Road / Cambridge Road junction from the Kingston Vale scheme and continues down Cambridge Road. As indicated above, a bus stop bypass would be preferable to unloading passengers into the space for the bike route.

Of more concern is the design in box B. The shared footway here is poor, requiring cyclists to cross two light-controlled junctions to join the two-way route. It is surely likely that this nuisance will cause many cyclists to continue along the road and simply attempt to join the cycle route later, negating the point of the infrastructure.

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The Gloucester Road junction above is busy, providing a route to the hospital. The sharper turn and wider footpaths are welcome. As noted above, the cycle lanes must be clear to ensure drivers don’t simply pull out across them.

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The remainder of the route contains some new zebra crossings and several side roads with continuous footpaths. The junction with Elm Road is interesting, containing a shared space running next to the cycle path. This appears to be so that cyclists can easily travel to Westbury Road. But then why not make this a cycle only space, rather than an ambiguous shared space? It appears that there is room here.

The parking spaces would ideally be to the road side of the cycle route; however, that may add unnecessary bends to the route. One hopes that the council monitors whether the cycle route is obstructed by the parking and alterations made if required.

Conclusion

Another decent route from Kingston Council. Compared to the first proposals for Portsmouth Road this is a huge leap forward. Once again, this needs some tweaking but the intent is good.

Please do remember to fill out the consultation. This is open until 17 November.

 

 

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Facts don’t matter

Working in tech at this present moment is refreshing. For several years there has been a movement towards acknowledging that those closest to a problem are best placed to fix it, and that the role of a manager is best placed to define desirable outcomes within which solutions may be freely found.

There are a number of reasons why this appeals. It removes the much of the political gameplay and focuses on getting results. It means that opinion is viewed as hypothesis that should be tested. And it views a failure as a learning opportunity. Opinions are allowed to change as learning is acquired.

However, this can make the rest of the world difficult. To a techie – and many who aren’t – the facts are clear and available so why don’t people use them? Why do they stick to an argument even when it apparently makes no sense?

Humans and the Cost of Change

There are many reasons for this. In fact, it’s only human to stick hard to a viewpoint once formed. Matthew Syed notes this in his book Black Box Thinking.


Festinger predicted that when the world didn’t end as a cult predicted, the cult’s belief would be strengthened rather than diminished. And this happened. Contrary evidence was presented and yet, far from changing their mind, the cult only reinforced their views.

This is due to the personal cost of change being high. In tech, things change every couple of years and learning is embraced. As things are going to change, you might as well get used to this and create environments which decide winners on the basis of evidence and deliberately make the personal cost of change low. This isn’t the case in the rest of the world.

Changing a viewpoint is expensive. Kate Gray and Chris Young have looked at how to manage change in an organisation: they note that there is no point targetting the extreme opposition simply because of the effort needed to change their mind. Far better to target the floating voters who are not entrenched and therefore will have a lower personal cost of change. (If you’re unfamiliar with their work, take a look here for a discussion on how they went about winning hearts and minds during a Change programme).

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Gray / Young Electoral Politics Model

So the task of winning people is less than we might think: we don’t need to persuade everyone. But how can we change peoples minds at scale when facts seem to be ignored or wilfully discarded?

It is instructive to look at some examples of why people might make decisions.

Brexit

To me the Brexit debate seemed clear as a simple question of risk. On the one side was a known entity, however flawed. On the other was complete uncertainty with no limit on the downside. What was always stated by the EU was that freedom of movement was the price for single market access. The Leave side seemed confident that this would not be the case (as my son often is when he demands ice cream without eating his dinner first) and made several promises that were not backed up by previous voting records of the politicians.

Despite this, they won

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Everyday man doing everyday things

. Some of this was a clear dislike for the government, but much of this support seemed to have been built over the years by Nigel Farage. Love him or loath him, people appear to identify with him. And yet he is a public-school educated multi-millionaire who has little in common with many of those who voted for him. What they appear to have identified with is the persona of Farage: the man who refuses to obey the norms of politics and who stirs the hornets’ nest with controversial statements. He is clearly positioned as different to most politicians and thus stands out.

Cycling Provision

Our towns often suffer from dreadful pollution and the population is increasingly unhealthy. The Netherlands has shown that many short journeys can be made by cycle instead of car if good infrastructure is put in place: this is relatively inexpensive and has been shown to have positive outcomes on public health. It is also notable that motor traffic flows well here, taking advantage of what is almost a permanent end-of-term effect.

lycra-lout
Lycra Lout?

However, discussion around cycling tends not to focus on this, but on a persona of the cyclist as a law-breaking uninsured hooligan, intent on doing everything they can to cause crashes, annoy pedestrians and increase pollution in towns. Small wonder that the person typically making these connections cannot imagine themselves cycling short journeys in everyday clothes in safety away from motor traffic. Essentially, their persona is somebody who travels by car and there is no readily available persona of the family who travel by bike.

Positive Personas

My hypothesis is that in both these situations, people seem to have identified with a persona that affirms their views and reinforces their conclusions. This is sometimes built around a person, but may simply be a concept (the parent who drives a 4×4; the lycra lout cyclist). A factual argument will simply bounce off this persona; indeed, it may even reinforce the strength of opposition.

Remember that at this point we only wish to target the undecided voter. While it’s tremendous fun to troll those who have an aversion to fact, it’s ultimately taking time away from more effective means of gaining support. Instead, would a fact-based story around a persona be more effective? That persona would identify with the concerns of the undecided voter but address them with the fact we’re attempting to portray.

We don’t wish to create another Be Like Bill character that is a patronising figure of fun. But when attempting to win over that vital undecided vote, we cannot simply deliver dry facts. Instead, we could represent the debate with believable personas that directly address the concerns voiced, rationalising the desired behaviour and ostracising the undesirable outcome. For the cycling discussion, give a platform to a disabled person who finds their bike gives them freedom and who needs good infrastructure. For the Remain Brexit discussion, give a voice to those who have concerns about immigration but believe the solution is to work with, rather than against, the EU.

At this stage, this is simply a clumsily-written hypothesis. I’d love to hear whether this has legs and, if so, could be developed further. Or, if this is established practice and I simply need to read more.

Wheatfield Way Shared Space

On Wednesday 14th September, I attended a Residents Meeting at Kingston Guildhall. Much of this was allocated to discussion on the next tranche of Go Cycle [Mini-Holland] developments. However, the meeting soon became a heated debate focussed around New Malden and its fountain. Time went on, and I unfortunately had to leave before the rest of the programme was discussed at 11pm.

While I support much of the non-New Malden briefs in principle, there is much that needs to be cleared up before the building begins. In particular, the proposal to share space between people on foot and people on bikes must be changed. This bodge is done at practically every junction on the Wheatfield Way scheme, changing what should be a useful link route into a conflict-ridden mess.

So let’s look at this.

Background

Wheatfield Way is a busy road with often fast-moving traffic, being part of Kingston’s infamous one-way system. At one of its junctions it acts to cuts off small shops and a Wilcos from the rest of the shopping area. The crossing is typically busy, with pedestrians often struggling to pass each other and cross the three-lane road in the brief time they’re allocated. There is a cycle lane here, linking Old London Road with Eden Street.

 

Mini Holland

To recap, mini-Holland was provided to redress the balance of car-dominated boroughs. Money was provided to generate real change, providing high quality cycling facilities that would enable the latent demand of people who want an alternative to their cars, but are fearful of the present cycling environment.

Given that many journeys are short (a third are under 2km) shifting a reasonable proportion of short journeys out of cars and onto cycles has huge potential to reduce town centre congestion with the corresponding health benefits.

The Unacceptability of Shared Space

The present proposal has a two way cycle lane along Wheatfield Way, that merges with the pavement at junctions to provide shared space between cycles and pedestrians.

This is shoddy, lazy and invites conflict.

Bad for Cyclists

One of the major benefits of good cycling infrastructure is the ability for all riders to travel as fast or slow as they like away from the dangers of traffic or from pedestrians who travel at a very different speed, often stopping without warning. Conversely, poor infrastructure gives up at junctions, bundling people on bikes into conflict with either motorists or pedestrians, both of whom resent the interlopers for very different reasons.

This is that latter type of infrastructure. Confident road cyclists will simply avoid it, undoubtedly attracting the ire of drivers as they cycle on the road. And less confident cyclists or those accompanying children will simply take the car, rather than trying to “share” space that is already full of pedestrians. Certainly, attempting to find a route through people waiting for a traffic light to change will prove difficult for cyclists with trailers or cargo bikes: exactly the sort of practical bicycles mini-Holland should attract.

Bad for Pedestrians

Who loves waiting at traffic lights while people on bikes try weaving their way past you? You’re clearly in their way, but where else can you wait? Nobody likes this. It’s rubbish. A busy road in front of you and cyclists around you trying to get through a busy junction. It’s awful. The only possible outcomes from this are conflict and anger.

Appalling for Disabled Groups

Picture that inconvenience for fully sighted pedestrians. And now do it blindfold. You can’t see where cycles are; indeed there’s little indication for you that cycles should be expected in the same place. And you can’t hear bicycles either – one of the reasons streets can be more pleasant with bicycles than motor vehicles is the reduced noise.

You’re simply going to avoid this space. It’s dangerous and not somewhere to be if you can’t see. The same applies if you’re deaf and can’t hear people calling to let you know they’re passing on one side or another.  I ride a bike and would call myself a cyclist. I’m also deaf in one ear and frequently miss such verbal cues. Personally, I would not feel comfortable in a shared space environment and that’s with a disability I regard as an annoyance rather than debilitating. 

The Equalities Act 2010 requires that all UK Local Authorities have an obligation to ensure that all streets and public areas are accessible to everyone, including people who have physical or sensory disabilities (from here, retrieved September 2016).

While Kingston council believes this to be the case, I strongly disagree. This will be extremely uncomfortable, unpleasant and dangerous for the disabled and impaired.

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Kingston Council on Equalities Impact Assessment

 

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Kingston Council statement on accessibility

I do not believe, despite the council assurances, that this meets the Equalities Act requirements.

 

Fine for drivers

Naturally, this scheme is fine for drivers. No space is removed from those causing a polluted, hostile, environment for people. The council will continue to provide a three-vehicle wide space for motors that are frequently occupied by a single person.

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One person for three lanes of space. Contrast this with the space for many pedestrians.

 

A Better Option

Here are the current plans. The three lanes of traffic are retained and the light blue cycle path merges into the pedestrian space where this is orange. The existing cycle path to Old London Road – under the row of telephone boxes here – is lost to shared space.

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Existing plans. No change for drivers, shoddy for everyone else

And here’s what they could look like.

wheatfield-way-revised
As things good be. Good for cyclists, good for pedestrians. Still not terrible for drivers.

Both roads that feed into this space are widened from two lanes. So let’s instead widen them after the station, with early “get in lane” signage to prevent jockeying for position.

This allows a full two-way separated cycle lane through the junction. There is some question about the cycle route joins with Old London Road and Clarence Street. At present there’s a short cycle route that joins roads on each end of the cycle route. There needs to be some provision for cyclists travelling along Wheatfield Way to be able to turn into Clarence Street but this should be relatively easy to fix.

 

How this Works

  • This resolves the problem that shoddy infrastructure won’t be used.
  • This resolves the problem that bicycles and pedestrians do not mix well.
  • This resolves the problem that disabled people will feel excluded by the ambiguity of shared space.
  • And this redresses the balance in a fair allocation of space away from being dominated motor traffic.

In short, it’s a better project that’s worthy of the mini-Holland moniker and will works towards the goal of getting people onto sustainable means of transport

As an aside, the other shared space junctions along the road are equally appalling. They’re easily resolvable and I expect to see continuous cycle lanes in the final designs.

Housing without Cars

We recently holidayed in Cornwall, on a farm that had converted several old buildings to holiday homes and gradually built new buildings. It’s a lovely place; the farm is still working so there’s plenty of opportunity for children to feed the animals in the morning and go on nature trails.

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It’s clear that families are a big customer segment, with nearly thirty houses on site. There’s a playground, a soft play area and a store from which forgetful parents can borrow a bucket and spade for the day. Naturally, children run around the place with little care for any consequences. Yet despite so many families coming and going during the day and the resulting traffic movements on and off the complex, this doesn’t cause any problem for small children.

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The reason is that people are happy to not park right outside their homes. An exception is made for loading and unloading, but after this there’s an understanding that cars belong in the car park. And this isn’t an issue, despite the car being used every day (unlike at home). A walk of a minute with bags, beach paraphernalia and children on traffic-free paths simply isn’t a problem. The roads also lend themselves to dead slow driving. Narrow, weaving, paths and the odd sharp corner with prominent signs stating that children are roaming.

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Narrow, twisty, lanes

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This leaves the paths free to walk on and for children to play on. Bikes were ridden, scooters were scooted and skateboards skated. Best of all, children were free to charge around the place and let off steam. We didn’t have to worry about whether they’d be run over, we could simply let them shoot off to the playground and catch up at a sensible pace.

This approach isn’t difficult to replicate. Yet we still build new developments with space for driving and barely any space for families. Houses seemingly must have space for parking, where a communal car park would be a better solution. There are, of course, issues to be resolved. It’s far easier to wash a car that’s outside one’s house, for a start. But it doesn’t have to be the norm that houses must have space for a car attachment. Removing the motor traffic makes the pace more human, whether on foot or bicycle.

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Charging point for electric cars
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Busy car park, away from children and routes to play-areas

 

 

How to avoid cutting one’s balls off

The Dad-Joke

There’s a story about a man who suffers from appalling headaches. They started as a minor inconvenience, but after 20 years have worsened and now affect every part of his life: failed relationships, a series of sackings, etc., etc. So he finally goes to the doctor. After many tests, the doctor diagnoses the problem: the patient’s testicles are pressing against the base of his spine, causing pressure which leads to the headaches. There’s only one solution: castration.

The patient initially declines, but ultimately pain gets the better of him and he agrees to the surgery.

So the surgery happens and the patient feels like a new man afterwards. Without the headaches, he realises this is the restart his life needed. To celebrate and kick-start his new life and job hunt, he goes to buy a new suit.

He walks into a tailors and says he’s looking for a new suit. The tailor looks him up and down. “You’re a 44-inch chest”, he says. “Brilliant”, says our patient. “How did you know?”

“Easy”, replies the tailor. “I’ve been doing this for 40 years. And you’re a 16-inch neck”.

“Bang on”, says the man. “How about the trousers?”

“36-inch leg” says the tailor. “And a 36-inch waist”.

“Gotcha!” shouts our hero. “I’m a 34-inch waist and have been since university.”

“Oh no,” the tailor insists. “You’re a 36-inch waist. If you wear 34-inch trousers, you’ll wear 34-inch underpants. And they’ll be far too tight – they’ll compress your balls against your spine and give you terrible headaches”.

 

The Product Stuff

Without wishing to over-analyse an excellent Dad-joke, this is how many people approach product management. There are two issues here.

Finding the actual problem

Instead of identifying the root cause of the problem, we fix the local, obvious, issue. While this often alleviates the symptoms, it doesn’t resolve the underlying problem. Such a resolution is therefore sub-optimal and possibly even harmful in the longer term. Here, they appear to have found out the cause. But they haven’t uncovered what caused the cause.

So when we approach a problem, why don’t we always use techniques such as 5-whys to dig down to the root cause? Why do we tackle only the immediate cause?

Well, firstly it’s a tricky habit to get into. Fixing a problem is satisfying and that buzz can be obtained quickly with an immediate fix. We set our mindset on achieving small wins, failing to optimise for long-term gain. Our sprint is full, so we put in a quick fix and mark this done.

Secondly, we’re often busy, with many competing demands. Fixing a problem feels like it is detracting from our main goals. Why spend time on fixing this when there are quarterly targets to be hit? So we avoid the potential hassle of coordinating with other departments and spending time identifying a root cause by simply fixing the surface issue. It’s good enough, and we can get on with our main priorities.

Safe-to-fail Experimentation

The second problem is that cutting one’s balls off is quite clearly not a safe-to-fail experiment. While this resolved the immediate problem, it is an irreversible action. In the language of Chris Matts, it is most definitely a commitment rather than an option. One can imagine that at the punchline our patient would have preferred to be holding an option rather than having committed early.

The realm of product management is that of uncertainty. There are outcomes which we are tasked with moving towards, rather than a fixed set of features that we must implement. To meet these outcomes, we identify small, safe-to-fail, hypotheses that we can test to see if they move closer to our aims.

The safe-to-fail part is key. Given that we cannot have certainty in advance about which features will and what won’t move our metrics the right way, we must have the option to reverse the feature at low cost should it fail. As responsible product managers it is not acceptable to hold merely a hypothesis and yet to create a complete, fixed, product (this is the realm of mass-production). Instead, we validate the hypothesis via testing and we always have a rollback option.

Conclusions

So two lessons from a terrible joke.

Always check for the root cause of a problem. And be sure to run safe-to-fail experiments, rather than commitments you’ll later regret.

 

Response to Summer 2016 Consultations, Part Two

Here’s the follow-up to yesterday’s post. This covers the Kingston Go Cycle (was Mini Holland) consultations for the Kingston Station and the Surbiton-Kingston schemes. There’s a bonus response to the proposed road closure on Surbiton Crescent.

My initial thoughts on the schemes are here. This is going to be a long post, but please do respond to these consultations. Feel free to copy, adapt and share these responses: these schemes are promising but need work to make them truly useful.

 

Kingston Station

Link to consultation

My responses

To what extent do you support the scheme as a whole?

Somewhat favour

How likely are you to use the area for walking and cycling following the improvements?

Extremely likely
Further comments

The segregated cycle routes to the south side of Wood Street are a welcome improvement to the current mix of shared space and pedestrian only space. Similarly, the widened bridge alongside the railway station is welcome and provides a useful link for riding.

As a regular pedestrian in this area I have grave concerns about the use of shared space. This lack of clarity feels dangerous for pedestrians and is unwelcome for cyclists. This needs to be addressed.
The route under John Lewis along Horse Fair needs to be clearer: a separated cycle track should be provided.
The route through the bus stops outside John Lewis should be separated: the current mix of cycles and buses is dangerous, particularly given that buses and taxis are pulling out into cycle routes.

Station Forecourt

To what extent are you in favour of the proposed improvements to the station forecourt?

Neutral
Further comments

It is difficult to endorse this given that all the schemes within this box contain Shared Space.

The Wheatfield Way cycle route must continue to be separated past the station and into both the Wood Street routes and under the railway bridge. This is easy to achieve. The current station forecourt shared space is awful and should be removed. A “tiger crossing” will help pedestrians.
The shared space in Fife Road is unclear. Does this mean cycles, pedestrians and motor vehicles all sharing space? Given that HGVs use this road for deliveries, cycles must be separated from motor vehicles.
The 20mph restriction is welcome but the street layout must be such that this is a speed drivers naturally choose.

Hub and Storage

To what extent do you agree with the provision of the hub and storage facility within the station forecourt area?

Agree

Further comments

More parking at the station is welcome, as is a hub. However, the indicated size of the hub leaves little room for pedestrians and cyclists when heading toward the cinema. This is likely to cause pedestrian overspill onto the cycle route.

Green Link

To what extent are you in favour of the proposed improvements and the making of the Green Link to the riverbank?

Agree
Further comments
The two directional routes and separate pedestrian space are welcome, both north and south of Wood Street.
The bridge is likely to be popular with cyclists as well as pedestrians: space should be provided for separate cycle and pedestrian space.
The green link is a pleasant idea but the route should not be completely shielded from the road: visibility is important for subjective safety for all users.
The junction treatment from Wood Street to Fife Road (at the Bentalls end) is unclear. The cycle and pedestrian routes should continue, with inbound traffic ceding priority. Given that the inbound traffic will be joining from a 20mph road this should be achievable as traffic should already be slow.
The 20mph restriction is welcome but the street layout must be such that this is a speed drivers naturally choose.

Gateway to Kingston Bridge

To what extent are you in favour of the proposed improvements to the gateway to Kingston Bridge?

Disagree
Further comments
These proposals offer little to cyclists. There is no improvement to the shared route with buses and taxis pulling into the carriageway. A separate cycle route would be welcomed by both cyclists and motorists not having to worry about approaching cyclists.
The use of road space under John Lewis should be re-examined. With a rigidly enforced 20mph limit it may be possible to move lanes closer and fit a cycle lane under here. Removal of the road divider should also make the 20mph limit more self-enforcing.
The Horse Fair crossing to the west of the scheme should be single stage so that pedestrians and cyclists are not penalised: it is a nuisance to have to wait for two separate stages.

 

 

Surbiton to Kingston Area

Link to Consultation

My responses

Palace Road

To what extent do you agree with the proposals for Palace Road? (NB the Portsmouth Road junction improvements are already under construction)

Somewhat oppose
Do you have any comments on the proposals for Palace Road?
These proposals do not help cyclists.
While this is marked as a “Quiet Road”, the closure of Surbiton Crescent may very well increase traffic down here. With the road being open to motor traffic, there is nothing to prevent such an increase. Before stating the cyclists can share with motorised traffic, we should be very clear about both quantity and speed of that traffic.
The on-road cycle markings do little to add to cyclist safety and road bumps are an unwelcome distraction: they are difficult to cycle around (as the gaps are in the gutter and centre of the road) and awkward to cycle over, particularly when towing children.
Cycling provision should be made here: sharing space with motor traffic with no traffic reduction is inappropriate.

Claremont Road

To what extent do you agree with the proposals for Claremont Road?

Somewhat favour
Do you have any comments on the proposals for Claremont Road?
The two lane cycle route is welcome.
However, the junction treatment at Maple Road needs to have separate pedestrian, cycle and motor vehicle space. Creating shared space for cyclists and pedestrians does not help pedestrian safety nor convenience or safety for cyclists.
Along Claremont road, we need to see separated cycle tracks and pavement for pedestrians. Shared space should not feature in such a scheme; if necessary space should be allocated to the pavement from Claremont Road or narrowed motor vehicle space.
Specifically, the route past the bus stand and at the Surbiton Station end need separate space rather than shared space.
The space at the Surbiton Station end of the scheme is poor. Cyclists are directed over the road to nothing – not even an advisory cycle lane. This will not entice usage. At the least, the scheme should continue to the station rather than abandoning people just before it.

St Mark’s Hill

To what extent do you agree with the proposals for St Mark’s Hill?
Somewhat favour
Do you have any comments on the proposals for St Mark’s Hill?

The segregated cycle lane is welcome, as is its position between parked cars and the pavement.

The lack of a segregated route down the hill is of concern. On road cycle markings frequently do little for safety; some kind of cycle priority is required here.
The junction over Adelaide Road needs to have a continuous pavement and cycle route, with motor traffic being clearly obliged to cede priority.
As with the Surbiton – Kingston route, this should continue to the roundabout outside Surbiton Station.

Avenue Elmers

To what extent do you agree with the proposals for Avenue Elmers?

Somewhat oppose
Do you have any comments on the proposals for Avenue Elmers?

As the scheme stands, there is little to make things safer for cycling. Surbiton Hill Road is the main road for motor traffic; this road could be made far safer for cyclists by simply removing through motor traffic (cycle and pedestrian permeable). There would be little inconvenience for residents (max 5 minutes driving), but cyclists using this route would not have to share with rat running traffic.

This would make the complete lack of useful cycling facilities on this route understandable; the motor traffic would be low enough to justify this.

Overall

To what extent do you support the scheme as a whole (Palace Road, Claremont Road, St Mark’s Hill and Avenue Elmers?

Somewhat favour
Your comments

The segregated routes are welcome, but must include segregated junction treatment. The shared pedestrian and cycle space must be removed; it is not acceptable to mix these modes.

The routes down the “Quiet Roads” must be supported by removal of through traffic. Mere paint on roads and speed humps do not make cycling safer and will not attract people who wish to cycle but who do not feel supported by the current facilities.

How likely are you to use the area for cycling following the improvements?

Neutral
Your comments

As they stand, I would not use the facilities when on my road bike, nor would I feel protected enough when out with my children.

My four year old can ride a bicycle competently. He would be fine on the separated sections; however, the route does not extend anywhere useful so I would not let him use the present proposals.

How likely are you to use the area for walking following the improvements?

Unlikely
Your comments

The shared space with bicycles does not appeal to me as a pedestrian. The lack of pavement along Claremont Road is unhelpful.

As a pedestrian I welcome segregated cycle routes: these increase the distance between my family and motor traffic.

Bonus Questions: Surbiton Crescent

Do you have any comments on the trial bus / cycle / access only section for Surbiton Crescent (between Surbiton Road and Anglesea Road)?

This is an excellent plan; however this should be reproduced on Palace Road to prevent through traffic using that designated Quiet Road as a rat run.

If successful, this approach should be used elsewhere. Residential routes such as this should not bear through traffic.

 

 

 

 

Response to Summer 2016 Consultations, Part One

As promised, here are my sample responses to the first two summer 2016 Kingston mini-Holland consultations.

Here’s the link to my initial thoughts on these schemes.

This is a very bland post… feel free to copy, paste and add your own thoughts. But please do fill in the survey. Neither of these schemes are good enough and both need significant rework.

 

Fountain Roundabout

Click here to fill in the survey

My Responses

Overall, what are your views on the proposal to convert the roundabout into a crossroads junction?

Strong oppose

Your comments:

The shared space will induce conflict between pedestrians (particularly those with reduced vision) and cyclists. Shared space decreases subjective safety for pedestrians and slows cyclists as pedestrians impede them.

More confident / faster cyclists will naturally avoid this conflict and use the road, negating the point of rebuilding this junction.

There is a danger point where access to the cycle route towards the junction from Kingston crosses the bus exit. Bus drivers will block this in heavy traffic, causing difficulty for cyclists.

Cyclists and pedestrians wishing to cross more than one junction arm will likely have to wait several minutes for motor traffic. This does not entice people to use alternatives to cars.

The increased road lanes from Kingston means pedestrians must cross five lanes plus a central island. Will sufficient time be given, sufficiently often, to allow this crossing in comfort for a slower walker?

There is no provision for cyclists wishing to continue along Malden Road. Again, this will induce conflict.

None of these problems would be present had the original Dutch style roundabout been present. This option will neither improve cyclist safety nor encourage uptake of cycling. It must be completely revisited.

A Dutch roundabout has pedestrian and cyclist priority over the arms through zebra crossings. With present walking or cycling levels, this is unlikely to affect traffic flow. Should a high quality layout prove wildly successful, priorities could be revisited.

 

In what capacity do you most frequently use Fountain Roundabout? (Please select one)

Driver

Your comments:

I don’t tend to cycle this way as the present provision is so unpleasant. These proposals will do nothing to change that, whether I’m riding a slower bike with a child on the back or my road bike at 20mph.
How do you think the proposal to convert the roundabout into a crossroads junction will benefit you? (Please select all which apply)

None of these

 

How likely are you to walk or cycle in the local area as a result of the proposal to convert the roundabout into a crossroads junction?

Unlikely

Your comments:

How would making this less pleasant for cycling and walking make me more likely to walk or cycle here?

 

Looking at the red dotted line on this image please say which of the following elements you would like to see in the new arrangement. (Please select all which apply)

Other: I’d like to see a proper, segregated, cycle path leading to a Dutch-style roundabout.
Please tells us if you have any further comments about the proposals

This funding was allocated under the title “mini-Holland”, with the goal of improving cycle provision to that of Dutch standards.

It is clear that this has not been adhered to. This benefits neither pedestrians nor cyclists and continues to favour motorists.This funding was allocated under the title “mini-Holland”, with the goal of improving cycle provision to that of Dutch standards.

This must be revisited and the roundabout reinstated, with pedestrian and cyclist priority over the arms.

 

Wheatfield way

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My Responses

To what extent do you support the scheme as a whole:

Somewhat favour

Your comments

The segregated cycle route is useful; however, it is rendered useless for many cyclists by the cycle route disappearing at junctions.

This slows progress for people on bikes as they have to avoid pedestrians. Cyclists prefer not to ride among pedestrians; pedestrians prefer not to walk among pedestrians.

Again, faster cyclists will simply use the road which negates the point of the scheme. Potential cyclists are unlikely to wish to start riding among pedestrians.

It is also unclear what happens at these junctions: are cyclists and pedestrians given at least as much priority at drivers?

Given that there are a maximum of four lanes, the road crossing should be made in one go. It is horrible for pedestrians at present being stuck in the cage in the middle of the polluted road, waiting for a second set of lights to change.

The 20mph restriction is a noble concept; however, experience with other Kingston roads suggests it will not be adhered to unless there is significant change to road design. The central planters should be removed and the vehicle lanes moved closer together to this end.

The moved crossing outside Fairfield library should remain before the left turn into Fairfield Road. This allows traffic to exit Fairfield Road in safety and allows pedestrians to cross Fairfield Road knowing traffic will not enter from Wheatfield Way. The proposals remove this safety.

Regarding Clarence Street, the footpath level loading and taxi bays must be clearly marked to avoid confusion. The ambiguous Clarence Street crossing must have a declared priority – ideally for pedestrians.

The segregated route from Wilcos to Kingston Station is welcome. This should seamlessly join the cycle route that presently goes underneath Kingston Station railway bridge towards Richmond.

 

How likely are you to use the area for walking following the improvements?

We already walk to Kingston town centre through here. This doesn’t change the poor provision for pedestrians at junctions and adds conflict with cyclists forced to share the same space.

As a parent of two young boys, I do not wish to share walking (skipping, jumping) space with people riding bicycles any more than I wish to share it with people driving cars.

How likely are you to use the area for cycling following the improvements?

Neutral

Your comments

I live near here so have to use this if I wish to leave my house.

When on my road bike, I will be unlikely to use these facilities due to the poor junction treatment. Fix this and I’ll probably change my mind: I presently enjoy the Portsmouth Road facilities that free me from worrying about motor traffic without unnecessarily slowing me at junctions.

When carrying children on a slower bike, I will likely use the separated route, but swear unceasingly when forced to share the pavement with pedestrians. Or just bump onto the road at this point.

 

To what extent do you agree with introducing a 20mph limit?

Strongly Agree

Your comments

See above. The road design must be such that drivers feel 20mph is appropriate. Narrower lanes with sharper turns will aid this. At present, drivers frequently exceed the current 30mph limit. Simply changing the limit will achieve nothing.

To what extent do you agree with the improvements in the Brook Street area?

Somewhat oppose

Your comments

This doesn’t appear to improve anything.

There still appears to be a two-phase crossing for pedestrians and cyclists, which is an awful experience (especially in the rain).

The disappearance of the cycle route into a shared space bodge is woeful. Simply put the cycle route must continue distinct from pedestrian space. This has been done many times in the Netherlands so can simply be copied

Fix these two items and this element of the scheme has my support.

 

To what extent do you agree with the improvements in the Orchard Road area?

Somewhat oppose

Your comments

There is still a two-phase crossing for pedestrians and cyclists, which is an awful experience (especially in the rain). This creates a central divider which makes drivers feel safer and able to drive faster. This does not aid the proposed 20mph limit. Simply removing the divider and pushing the lanes closer allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross the road in a single phase.

The segregated cycle route must continue and not disappear into shared space.
To what extent do you agree with the improvements in the Clarence Street / Old London Road area?

Somewhat oppose

Your comments

By reducing lane space to two lanes on the approaching routes, a segregated cycle path could be accommodated throughout this scheme. This would be helpful given the high pedestrian numbers crossing from Old London Road to Clarence Street. The shared space at such a busy area is dangerous and will cause collisions between cyclists and pedestrians.

The new pedestrian crossing is welcome; however, the new unsignalised crossing is a danger point. This could easily be made into a zebra crossing or continue using the existing traffic signal controlled crossing.
To what extent do you agree with the improvements at Kingston Museum and Library area?Strongly oppose

Your comments
The main part of this scheme is relocating the signalised crossing to after the Fairfield Road junction. This increases danger for drivers attempting to leave Fairfield Road and pedestrians crossing Fairfield Road.

The segregated cycle path should continue through the junction. There is not clear route here across the junction and as such (with the relocated junction) this increases danger for cyclists and pedestrians. Frankly, it doesn’t appear that crossing Fairfield Road has even been considered for cyclists – this is poor for a mini-Holland scheme.

A single phase crossing of Wheatfield Way is welcome; however the central island should be removed and the motor lanes brought closer together to decrease traffic speed (and decrease crossing times).